The Sun Came Out

If you consider environmental responsibility and the eradication of hunger and poverty a family issue then 7 Worlds Collide offers a musical way to introduce this concern to your significant others. The multi-artist project is spearheaded by founder Neil Finn (Crowded House). Joining Finn are brother Tim, sons Liam & Elroy, and wife Sharon. Wilco members Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche, Pat Sansone, and Spencer Tweedy (Jeff’s son) also join in. Rounding out the crew is K.T. Tunstall, Lisa Germano, Bic Runga, Phil Selway, and guitarist Johnny Marr (The Smiths) and Ed O’Brien (Radiohead).

Neil Finn came up with the concept for 7 Worlds in 2001. Gathering a group of star musicians, he gave the group a deadline to create and record music, interchanging the collaborations for diversity. Each album’s sells would benefit a charity. This time round the beneficiary is Oxfam, an international organization that fights for justice and equality. A major focus for Oxfam is climate change and its effects on global hunger. Although the music is not overtly political, the album’s liner notes give amble information on the work of Oxfam.

Gathering during the holiday season of 2008, the musicians and their families romped at the New Zealand shore, took scenic walks, and worked together at Neil Finn’s studios. Apparently the atmosphere was ripe with inspiration as the project grew into a two-disc collection. Entitled, The Sun Came Out, this 2nd version of 7 Worlds Collide allows for mixing and matching between artists who, otherwise, might never have the chance to work together.

KT Tunstall is a stand out on tracks “Hazel Brown” and “Black Silk Ribbon,” a duet with Bic Runga. We also get to hear the rare lead vocals of Wilco members Pat Sansone and John Stirratt. Neil Finn’s duet with Johnny Marr, “Too Blue,” is among the best tracks on the disc. Marr’s “Run In the Dust” feature’s Ed O’Brien’s guitar work and has a distinct Radiohead edge to it’s production. Two of my favorite tracks include the younger set of Finn brothers. Elroy’s “The Cobbler” is moody and intoxicating. Liam teams up with dad Neil for “Learn to Crawl,” a chamber-pop tune that matches up nicely with the best of Crowded House.

The Sun Came Out offers a glimpse into the future of the Finn family. No doubt they’ve become New Zealand’s first family of music. We’ll have to watch the Tweedy and O’Brien broods to see if music really does run in the gene pool.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix Host)